‘Slicing vegetable at point of purchase leads to loss of vital nutrients, could cause food poisoning’
NUTRITION experts have said that requesting vegetable sellers to slice it at the point of purchase is unhygienic, warning that the practice can cause food poisoning.
They also noted that slicing vegetables at the point of purchase could lead to loss of vital nutrients.
The experts, a Registered Dietician-nutritionist at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nwabumma Asouzu; and a Lagos-based Registered Dietician-nutritionist, Cynthia Onyekwere, said there are serious hygiene issues with slicing vegetables before washing.
According to them, all vegetables should be treated with the utmost care, from the point of harvest to the consumer’s plate.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH Healthwise, Asouzusaid raw vegetables could be contaminated with physical agents, like the seller whose hands may not be clean or who may have obtained the vegetables from a poorly hygienic environment.
“Other sources of contaminants like faecal material, parasitic contaminants, maggots, insects, and even sands and small pieces of stones, can be sliced together in the process.
“Another risk of this wrong practice is possible food poisoning from salmonella, E.coli, cryptosporidium, listeria, etc. All vegetables should be treated with the utmost care from the point of harvest to the consumer’s plate.
“Vegetables generally should be handled carefully as they contain antioxidants that can be lost when cut or mishandled. So never buy damaged or bruised fresh vegetables”, the dietician said.
Asouzu said there are possible nutrient losses in cut vegetables, such as ascorbic acid, B vitamins and folate.
Listing ways to prepare vegetables and make them safe for consumption, the food expert said, “Add a little quantity of salt, wash and then rinse all vegetables under running tap water or clean water. While rinsing under running tap water, rub or scrub firm-skinned vegetables with a clean vegetable brush.
“Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, since these products are not consumable. When shopping, separate fresh vegetables from household chemicals and raw foods, such as meat, poultry and seafood.
“During preparation, remove and discard bruised or damaged portions of vegetables before cooking.”
Also speaking with our correspondent, Registered Dietician-nutritionist,
Onyekwere, said it is a common practice for people to request that vegetable sellers help them slice their vegetables at the point of purchase, attributing the practice to lack of skill, convenience and hastening of meal preparation.
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